There was a combination of tears and laughter at Coen Ashton's funeral.
There was a combination of tears and laughter at Coen Ashton's funeral. Valerie Horton

Coen Ashton remembered as parents pay tribute at funeral

JUST like Coen Ashton himself, his funeral was a bit different to most others.

His coffin, black with green detail, was driven to Williamstown Town Hall on the back of his favourite Kombi van, followed by a convoy of motorcycles.

The organ donation advocate's casket was carried into the hall, with those gathered standing to pay their respects to the 20-year-old former Maryborough man who had changed so many lives.

It was both sad and uplifting - a celebration of Coen's life, along with the acknowledgement that he was given extra time thanks to the double lung transplant he underwent five years ago.

For the first time, his mum Dawn and dad Mark met the family of Coen's donor, who attended his funeral on Saturday.

Dawn made moving comments, thanking the family whose loved one had extended Coen's life.

Coen was diagnosed with cycstic fibrosis when he was three weeks old and at just 15, he underwent the transplant at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.


"There's no way I can actually talk about Coen today and keep it together, so I'm going to talk to you about another family that is very close to ours and the reason why we're here today and not five years ago," Dawn said.

"A few weeks after Coen was gifted with his double lung transplant, he received a message from a 17 year old called Skye, who simply stated 'you have my dad's lungs'."

OPINION: Coen, you will be so missed.

Dawn said the family has written a letter of sincere thanks to their hero family.

"We knew who our hero family was. And we knew our hero was Wayne Fenton."

Dawn said when his family stepped out after a breath of fresh air before their loved one's life support was turned off, they noticed Coen, in a wheelchair and on oxygen, and knew immediately who needed his lungs.

Tuesday will mark the five year anniversary of that day.

"We knew there was another family out there that was saying goodbye to their loved one," she said.

"It is a double loss for you today, because it's been almost five years to the day since Wayne passed away.

"We'd like to thank you so much for what you did for us. It means so much.

"In Coen's words, my donor my hero."

Dawn said she didn't realise how much Coen had changed lives.

"I knew he had," she said.

"But when I see today how many people are here and the messages that we've received over the years, even over the last week, of people who have been touched by Coen, I had no idea just how much of an impact he'd had until the last week."

His dad then took to the stage to share his memories of Coen.

Mark said his son always dreamed big and the challenge for his family was helping to make those dreams a reality.

He said Coen loved talking to people, often going up to strangers and starting conversations.

Mark said Coen didn't see people as people, but as a fresh new audience.

From tandem skydiving, to a visit to Disneyland, going on The Project and other television programs, and jetsking along the Murray River to raise awareness for organ donation, he packed a lot into his short life.

Mark said watching Coen after he received his double lung transplant was amazing.

"He had to learn how to laugh, how to take deep breaths and how to run," he said.

In addition to his many achievements, Coen was awarded the Child of Courage medal at the Pride of Australia awards and was named Fraser Coast Junior Citizen of Year last year at the council's annual Australia Day ceremony.

Several of Coen's friends spoke in his honour, while a slideshow featured memories of his life.

Coen's funeral was live streamed, with people across Australia and the world watching it.

Watch it here:

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